Al Tamimi & Company
Dubai Maze Tower, Level 15, Sheikh Zayed Road
PO Box 927, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Samer joined Al Tamimi & Company in 1999 and has been a partner since 2007. In January 2020, he was elected as the Managing Partner to lead the management and strategic direction of the firm across the Middle East and North Africa.
What qualities make for a successful managing partner? How should lawyers go about developing these qualities?
Being managing partner at Al Tamimi & Company is a pleasure and an honour for me. I started my journey here and I believe being passionate about the firm, its people, and your work is fundamental. Operationally, it is vital to understand the strategic objectives and long-term vision of the business. This forms a platform from where you can add value and lead with purpose. People are the lifeblood of any organisation and I believe it is the role of a managing partner to support and empower the people to be the best version of themselves.
As managing partner of Al Tamimi & Company, what are the key challenges you face in managing and leading the law firm across the Middle East and North Africa region?
I would use the term challenge in a positive light because it’s the result of us being ambitious and focused on achieving our vision, of being the leading law firm in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This perspective is important, because by being challenged we know we are on the right trajectory as a firm. We have ambitious growth plans that includes providing solutions for our clients looking at the African market and we are ready for the challenge. There are always new laws and regulations being introduced in the region that will challenge our lawyers, however, we ensure our teams are on top of this and understand the letter of the law, thereby providing the optimum advice and solutions to our clients.
Could you share some insights into your approach to strategic planning and decision-making in guiding the growth and success of Al Tamimi & Company?
My approach is built around being collaborative. We work together, are clear on where we currently stand, what our objectives are, and we have a roadmap that will get us to our desired goal. This provides a sense of ownership among all colleagues and a firm-wide understanding of where we are heading. A key pillar is communication, we must all be on the same page, and this means regular and transparent messages transmitted across the firm.
How do you ensure effective communication and collaboration among the diverse team of lawyers spread across the firm's offices?
Communication is vital and collaboration is one of our values as a firm. They go hand-in-hand, and we have several initiatives in place that help us stay connected. We have been on a digital transformational journey and continue to embrace innovation, and how we communicate and collaborate is aided by the technology we use. Another example of communicating and collaborating is our capacity to pull in experts from across practice areas and jurisdictions to fulfil a client’s requirements. We share best practice and ensure we maintain open and honest dialog with each other.
In your role as managing partner, what steps have you taken to foster a culture of innovation and adaptability within the firm?
From its inception the firm has championed a culture of innovation and adaptability. I experienced this from the day I joined, and it is something that is engrained in how we move the firm forward. As a firm the last four years have tested our resolve, we went through a digital transformation, and this was tested throughout the pandemic. During this period, we ensured all employees had the technology to continue to service their clients and the business. I am proud to say, we embraced change and adapted to the evolving landscape. Today we operate a hybrid way of working, our people can work from anywhere and still be connected. Implementing a culture of innovation and adaptability is down to the people, we can provide the tools and the methodology, but the execution is down to an individual level. We foster trust by empowering our people and this is where our culture stands out.
What excites you the most about the future of practice?
The sky is the limit. That’s what excites me. The journey we are on has no parallels; you cannot compare it to any other firm in the market. For example, our clients are increasingly looking at Africa to expand operations and we need to ensure we are in tune with their requirements across the key markets. And there is a lot happening in the Middle East, for example Saudi Arabia is another key location for us, it’s our biggest physical presence, outside of the UAE, and we are committed to being the leading firm in the Kingdom. Across the region governments are modernising their legislation and cannot ignore the emergence of AI and how it will filter into our daily way of working and this is another exciting development for all our practice areas and business in a general.
How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the legal industry, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into the firm's management strategies?
Nothing beats speaking to your peers and sharing knowledge and best practice. This is one of the best methods of staying updated on the latest trends and developments. I attend events globally and participate in panel conversations that are insightful and help develop my way of working. We host similar events internally, for example our partners retreat is designed to bring us together in one place to share information and ways of working. The conversations I have both internally and externally provide a practical perspective that influence our strategies.
Looking ahead, what do you see as the most significant opportunities and challenges for law firms in the Middle East and North Africa region, and how is the firm preparing for them?
I believe we are fortunate to be operating in MENA and the opportunities are endless. As a firm we have a particular focus on Africa and are excited by the prospect of building on our existing footprint. Of course, all eyes are on Saudi Arabia with its projects and legislative development, and we have a significant presence there and we want to build our on the ground expertise to support both the public and private sector. The region is a hotbed of socio-economic activity, and we want to ensure we are equipped to service our client requirements, regardless of the matter or the jurisdiction. We will do this by collaborating as one firm and leveraging our on-the-ground intelligence to stay well-informed and connected.